Angloville is a company which specialises in providing full English language immersion. Participants are given speaking sessions throughout the day and in just a week can make vast improvements in fluency. Volunteers receive the opportunity to see some of the sights in Warsaw and free accommodation during the programme.
I spent one week with Angloville as a volunteer on their adult programme. These sessions involve full days of working with participants to improve their conversation skills and the intensity of the programme really provides results. After just 5 full days of sessions, the participants were more confident, had a wider range of vocabulary and, most importantly, were enjoying learning the language, which suggests they will continue to progress in English long after the programme.
On the first day of the programme, all volunteer teachers are given a free tour of Warsaw including lunch. In order to attend the tour, you may have to find accommodation in the city the night before. After flying from London, I stayed one night in Lucka Stay. This hostel was slightly daunting as a solo traveler as it was quite hard to find. I had to call the property twice to get accurate directions and eventually entered a building which looks like a block of offices to take the lift to the floor they directed me to on the phone. On exiting the lift, I had to navigate a dark stairwell and was eventually let in by the staff to the collection of flats which make up the hostel. Although this hostel is quite strange, it is only a 15-minute walk from the city centre and was reasonably clean considering I only paid £7 a night.
After the walking tour on the Saturday, during which you can meet other volunteers, the Angloville coach will pick you up from a designated spot in the city on Sunday morning. Ours was the Palace of Science and Culture in the city centre which was very easy to find with the provided instructions. We were treated to a very nice venue during the programme. As volunteers, we were given free accommodation at the Debowa Gora Hotel. This included three meals a day with a buffet breakfast. We also had access to the spa which offers a number of treatments you can purchase or free use of the jacuzzi and sauna. The hotel is situated by a lake, about an hour and a half from Warsaw, and the scenery is truly picturesque. Although the days are full on, with speaking sessions and other activities from 10am to 8pm, the setting really makes you feel relaxed and the speaking sessions start to feel more like socializing than work.
Generally, the speaking sessions are one on one between volunteer and participant. Each day there would be a group activity and for some sessions material is provided. During the one on one sessions you are free to discuss anything with the participants. This allows time to get to know them and provides a relaxed environment in which they can feel free to talk about topics they are most comfortable with. Some sessions have material provided, such as telephone conversation dialogues in which participants can practice phrases they might use on the phone, or negotiations in which the participants will need to argue their case with regards to a fictional problem and the volunteers’ role is to provide help and encouragement so that they can effectively make their case.
At the end of the week we had presentations from the participants in which they demonstrated how much their language skills had improved. We also had social time after dinner every evening which featured a pub quiz and games or just spending time with the participants and other volunteers in a more informal way. Overall, the experience is a great way to meet new people and spent a week volunteering in a way a relaxed and friendly environment. Angloville offers sessions for children and teenagers who want to learn English so is inclusive of all age ranges. The programme also takes place at a number of different locations across Europe, such as Budapest, Bucharest and Prague so take a look at the website if you are interested in learning English or volunteering with Angloville. As a volunteer, you can complete 3 sessions to earn a TEFL qualification which would allow you to teach English all over the world.